Capitol police arrested 12 Christian faith leaders Thursday morning in the Hart Senate office building during a protest against the GOP tax plan.
The faith leaders, eight ordained ministers and four staff members of Sojourners, gathered in Hart to participate in the #2000Verses protest campaign, during which they read aloud Christian scriptures about serving the poor and warned senators that their souls were in danger if they supported the GOP tax plan, according to a video posted by Sojourners.
Police warned the minsters, along with a gathering of supporters who held signs, that they were engaging in unlawful conduct and would be arrested if they did not stop, saying “this is your first warning.”
“Senators, we put you on notice. Your souls are in danger, and this is your final warning” one female minister yelled in response as she waved her finger toward the upper floors.
“People will die from a tax bill that reflects a reckless disregard for human life because millions will be thrown off health care; and struggling Americans of all races and backgrounds will be treated as collateral in a race to give the rich a tax cut they do not need,” said Barbara Williams-Skinner of the Skinner Leadership Institute and National African American Clergy Network.
Capitol police warned the protesters three times of their impending arrest if they did not desist. The ministers continued to shout scripture, proclaim warnings of impending spiritual doom against those who supported the GOP tax plan, and argue that those who support the tax plan do not care about the poor. Police arrested 12 of the protesters, handcuffing them and leading them out of Hart into the back of awaiting police vehicles.
Sojourners, a left leaning Christian organization, promotes the #2000verses campaign on their website, urging supporters to protest the GOP tax plan because of its proposed tax cuts and its cuts to federal welfare programs.
“The tax bill being voted on this week in the Senate will blow up the deficit in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest while cutting programs for the poor and vulnerable. That moral choice is immoral and contrary to the priority of the poor in our Scriptures. So we are calling Christians to act,” the Sojourners website promotion reads.
The campaign has garnered support on Twitter from liberal ministers Jesuit priest James Martin.
The eight ministers arrested are Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine; Barbara Williams-Skinner of the Skinner Leadership Institute and National African American Clergy Network; Bishop W. Darin Moore of African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Chair of the National Council of Churches; Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq. of the National Council of Churches; Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network and co-founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement; Carole Dortch-Wright of the Cathedral International Episcopal Office; Rev. Catherine Griggs of Cathedral International Episcopal Office, Senior Executive Assistant to Bishop Donald Hilliard; and Rev. Rose Marie Berger of Sojourners.
The four additional Sojourners staff members arrested are Jeff Hoagland, David F. Potter, Bob Sabath, and Feriel Ricks.
Editor’s note: The original article stated that Capitol police arrested 12 ministers. Since identifying those arrested, the article has been changed to reflect that eight ordained ministers and four staff members of the Christian organization Sojourners were arrested.
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